Thursday, April 18, 2013

Quote of the Day (Anthony Weiner, on His First Disastrous Date With His Wife)

“So, we went out for a drink.., which is when I found out she doesn’t drink, and she orders tea and excuses herself to go to the ladies’ room, and when she gets up, this cabal of four or five of her friends come over to the table and say: ‘Stay away. She wants no part of you.’ And this part of the story Huma disputes, but it’s true. She never came back. She ditched me.”—Former Congressman Anthony Weiner, on his first, failed attempt to pick up future wife Huma Abedin, quoted in Jonathan Van Meter, “The Post-Scandal Playbook,” The New York Times Magazine, April 14, 2013

Huma, Huma, didn’t anyone ever tell you that first impressions are not to be taken lightly—especially when it comes to work and love? Why didn't you walk and keep on walking, until you had put thousands of miles between yourself and this creep?

Look what you got yourself into—the father of your child not only had to give up his safe Congressional seat because of his by-now-infamous tweet, but also wants to pick up where he left off—i.e., plan a mayoral campaign where his past transgressions will become the subject of endless media fodder. After he bragged to your old boss Hillary Clinton that he had “teed up” a crowd for her, you were right to think, as you recalled to Jonathan Van Meter, “My God, he’s such a jerk.” Now he's proving it by opening himself--and you--to a whole new line of embarrassing questions mercifully cut off by his resignation. (For instance: Were any of the recipients of his sexting messages underage?)

I normally reserve Mondays for humor in my “Quote of the Day.” I thought seriously a few days ago of including Anthony Weiner’s explanation to Van Meter of the original impulses that led to his fall from grace. I’ve never read a more long-winded, more unintentionally humorous explanation of what, reduced to its essence, simply means, “I was a hopeless narcissist.”

And now, this hopeless narcissist wants to re-enter public life. It’s not unlike former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, ready to hop back into the arena not long after being hooted out of office for “hiking the Appalachian Trail.” Or Newt Gingrich, telling GOP primary voters last year about how he had to beg forgiveness from God for his past affair(s).

How much you want to bet that Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a run for the U.S. Senate—maybe even governor again—out in California? (I mean, in another life, as The Terminator, he did tell us, “I’ll be back.”) And do you think John Edwards regards it now—with his wife no longer a visible reminder of his past disgrace, and his campaign-finance trial behind him—as such a completely wild dream to return to politics, and even at a high level?

Gary Hart must be kicking himself for being born too early. After leaving the 1988 Presidential race because of the disclosure of his fling with Donna Rice, he not only couldn’t get traction again when he tried to get back into the primaries, but he was even laughed out of town for even thinking about it. (David Letterman was typical: “In, out, in, out—isn’t that how he got into trouble in the first place?”)

I blame the new state of affairs on Bill Clinton. “The Comeback Kid” made the political arena safe for taking a walk on the wild side by enduring an impeachment attempt. (Of course, as Peter Grier of the Christian Science Monitor pointed out in his anatomy of the Weiner scandal two years ago, Clinton endured because he was a powerful man who had built up a lifetime of political chits, while Weiner was a mere Congressman who had bruised one Capitol Hill colleague after another.) Ever since then, one politician after another has sought redemption of one sort or another. I mean redemption on their terms, not anyone else’s, let alone God’s.

Would that they all could have taken a page from John Profumo. Fifty years ago, after the British Secretary of State for War resigned for misleading Parliament about his affair with a call girl (who was also bedding a Russian spy), he didn’t write memoirs, go on talk shows, or, especially, plot political comebacks. Instead, he went to the British charity Toynbee Hall, a London soup kitchen and settlement house, and volunteered for the most menial duties, starting with mop duty.

When he was knighted 12 years after leaving the Cabinet, it wasn’t for his government work, but for his tireless, unselfish philanthropy—work he maintained until his death seven years ago.

For Profumo in his final years, it was never about him, but all about the work. "Never explain, never complain" could have been his watchword. Too bad our politicians have forgotten that today.

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